Children living with Home Mechanical Ventilation : The everyday life experiences of the children, their siblings, parents and personal care assistants

Sammanfattning: Aim: The overall aim of this thesis was to explore the everyday life experiences of living with Home Mechanical Ventilation (HMV) from the perspective of the children and their siblings, parents and personal care assistants.Methods: Study I describes the experiences of personal care assistants (PCA) working with a ventilator-assisted person at home, based on qualitative content analysis according to Elo and Kyngäs (2008), of 15 semi-structured interviews. Study II, using qualitative content analysis according to Graneheim and Lundman (2004), focuses on exploring everyday life experiences from the perspective of children and young people on HMV, by means of interviews with nine children and young people receiving HMV. Study III, using a phenomenological hermeneutical method, illuminates the everyday life experiences of siblings of children on HMV, based on ten interviews. Study IV explores HRQoL, family functioning and sleep in parents of children on HMV, based on self-reported questionnaires completed by 85 parents.Results: PCAs working with a person with HMV experienced a complex work situation entailing a multidimensional responsibility. They badly wanted more education, support, and an organisation of their daily work that functioned properly. Children with HMV had the feeling that they were no longer sick, which included having plans and dreams of a future life chosen by themselves. However, at the same time, there were stories of an extraordinary fragility associated with sensitivity to bacteria, battery charges and power outages. The siblings' stories mirror a duality: being mature, empathetic, and knowledgeable while simultaneously being worried, having concerns, taking a lot of responsibility, being forced to grow up fast, and having limited time and space with one’s parents. Parents of children with HMV reported low HRQoL and family functioning in comparison with earlier research addressing parents of children with long-term conditions. One in four parents reported moderate or severe insomnia.Conclusion: Children receiving HMV may feel that they are fit and living an ordinary life, just like their healthy peers. At the same time the results of this thesis indicate that everyday life in the context of HMV is a fragile construct that in some respects resembles walking a tightrope. The fragility of the construct also affects the everyday lives of the families and the PCAs.